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Reggie gets out alive: Trapped in a fire

10:10 PM, Apr 19, 2011   |    comments
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Originally ran on May 24th, 2010: Your chances of surviving a house fire are pretty good if you have a smoke detector in your home.

But if you have burglar security bars on your home, you may be literally playing with fire. Bars on your windows and doors can be a nightmare for firefighters.

While you're trying to keep bad guys out, you could also be creating a death trap for yourself and your family.

Photo Gallery: Getting out alive

For the first time, the St Petersburg Fire Department allowed a reporter to participate in a live fire drill. We used an abandoned house on Emerson Street that was set to be demolished.

Our first fire was confined to the kitchen area with a controlled burn. Immediately the kitchen was consumed in flames and the heat reached 1,200 degrees. The smoke was dense and I had to reach a window for firefighters to rescue me from the window.

Fourtunately, the firemen were prepared and removed the bars within minutes. The second fire was in the bedroom area and firemen entered through the front door with no problem.

But successfully entering homes with bars have not always been easy.

15 years ago, firefighters had to pull a family from a burning apartment. The front door had bars and the family couldn't find the key to open it.

Three kids were screaming at the door begging to get out.

The children were rescued but the parents didn't make it.

Fire officials recommend to have a quick release on at least one of the bars, preferably a bedroom window.

But, more importantly, smoke detectors can help warn you and could save your life. 

Reginald Roundtree, 10 News

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